Russia’s Prospects To Ratify ILO Convention No. 190 Discussed at Roundtable

conven190.jpgA roundtable organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Confederation of Labour of Russia, Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia and the Center for Social and Labour Rights to discuss Russia’s prospects to ratify and promote ILO Convention No. 190 was held online on June 25.

Boris Kravchenko, CLR President and Olga Koulaeva, ILO Moscow Office Director made a welcome speech to the roundtable participants. Boris Kravchenko said that the CLR actively participated in drafting and adopting Convention No. 190 at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference. Mr. Kravchenko expressed his confidence that Russian unions are capable of prompting public interest and achieving understanding both with social partners and hired workers to create an enabling environment for conflict-free ratification of the Convention and making its provisions part of the national labour law.

Olga Koulaeva, ILO Office Director, also discussed the relevance of Convention No. 190. She announced the start of a weekly international campaign to promote this Convention currently ratified by six countries: Argentina, Namibia, Somali, Uruguay, Fiji and Ecuador. “The Convention defines violence and harassment at work for the first time,” Ms. Koulaeva said. She thanked the CLR for participating in the international campaign including by organizing this roundtable. As a follow-up to the campaign, it is envisaged to publish documents to be used for promoting the Convention at the national level.

Victor Hugo Ricco, Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities at the ILO/ACTRAV, spoke of the importance and role of trade unions in ratifying Convention No. 190. He underlined that this Convention is not only about gender issues but also about protecting all those at work from any form of violence and harassment. Mr. Ricco was confident that Convention No. 190 will help workers to protect their leaders from violence. He discussed the forms of support the ILO offers to promote the ratification of Convention No. 190 including analysis of the national law to bring it into conformity with the Convention.

Speaking at the roundtable, the representatives of Russian trade unions discussed specific problems and challenges to promote Convention No. 190 in this country. Alexander Shershukov, FITUR Deputy Chairman, said he expected long painstaking work since, in his opinion, few people even among trade unionists believe the rights protected by the Convention to be undeniable.

In discussing the power of stereotypes to obstruct the adoption of Convention No. 190, Irina Gorshkova, Executive Secretary of the CLR’s Gender Equality Commission, said that the subject of the Convention picks up the issue of domestic violence and that the Convention rightly calls upon trade unions and employers to focus on domestic violence.

Andrei Konoval, Chairman of the All-Russia Health Workers’ Union “Deistvie”, said that the union experienced a lot of problems primarily related to work load and wages, with workers not always aware that violence and harassment at work require focused action. Mr. Konoval believes that, apart from defining gender-based violence, it is important to recognize and specifically define the harassment of lower-level workers by employers and higher-level workers. “This is a form of violence we face almost every day,” Andrei Konoval said.

Violence at work is an equally huge problem in European countries believed to be better-off in this regard. Renata Tretiakova, specialist of the International Department at the General Confederation of Labour, reported sociological data demonstrating that 30 percent of hired workers in France faced violence and harassment at work.

In his closing speech the CLR President Boris Kravchenko mentioned the successful experience of trade unions’ joint struggle to ratify the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention and expressed his confidence that ILO Convention No. 190 will be adopted “sooner rather than later”.

In summing up the results of the discussion, Gocha Aleksandria, Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities at the ILO Moscow Office, thanked all those present for having participated in the roundtable.

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